Feedback on Allowance Amounts

snuffycuts99April 18, 2014

Would appreciate some feedback on what you think about these allowance amounts. We are building 3700 square feet with 4 bedrooms and 3.5 baths. Hardwood on first floor (about 2500 square feet) and carpet on second floor (1200 sq feet). Tile in bathrooms and mudroom. The GC said the tile would cost about the same as the hardwood. The one that I'm worried about is the cabinets and vanity.

A. Cabinets and Vanities $18,000
Allowance is for materials; labor to install is factored in finish carpentry category

B. Counter Tops $9,000
Allowance is for materials and labor to install

C. Flooring $26,000
Allowance is for all materials including hardwood, carpeting, padding, tile (including fireplace facing), cement board underlayment, grout, etc. and labor to install

D. Custom Tiled Master Shower $4,000
Allowance is for cement base and tiled floor and walls. Materials and labor

E. Lighting Fixtures $8200
Allowance is for all lighting fixtures including bulbs (except open bulb porcelain fixtures); labor to install is figured in Electrical category

F. Plumbing Fixtures $7,000
Allowance is for all plumbing fixtures including tub and shower units, tub & shower doors, faucets, valves and drains, all sinks and toilets; labor to install is factored in plumbing category

G. Mirrors/Accessories $750

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I think it all depends on what the builder's markup is and are you going through him or can you go anywhere. For example the floors. If you did about 2800 sqft of 4 inch white oak select, installed, stained, sanded with three coats of poly would run you $16000. That would leave you 10000 for the other 1000 sqft of floors which is a nice allowance. If you are limited to the builder's vendors and suppliers I am guessing the prices would be much higher.

As far as the cabinets I think that allowance is very light but it all depends on the price of the house. My kitchen cabs are custom and running 40k. You can obviously do stock cabinets for much less but I think it will be tight.

Once again the plumbing if you shop around for deals you could probably work with it but will be a little tight. If you have to deal directly with builder will be very tight.

If the counter top allowance is for just kitchen you will be fine, if its for whole house will be very light or limited to lower grade selections.

The master bath tile allowance I am not sure what portion is the labor or how much builder would charge for labor. In addition don't know the size, a nice tile or Marble could run a few thousand alone for materials.

Once again the lighting allowance will be fine if you can shop on your own, if you are limited to builders suppliers different story.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 11:24AM
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I think it's better to look at these in price per square foot. Personally I found nice floor tile less per sq foot than wood, but of course it all depends.

I think your lighting allowance is good if it doesn't include all the other electrical (wiring, outlets, etc). If it's for fixtures only then good (although does your builder work with someone where you will get a discount?) Our lighting budget was way too low, but we did get excellent prices on the fixtures (35% off, and I think in some cases more).

Plumbing fixtures- that's close to what we spent- and we got decent Delta or HansGrohe stuff-nothing crazy- all in chrome.

Cabinets and vanities- our budget was closer to 50K for the whole house on that- from our builder- they have a separate custom shop (and while not everything is installed so far, I like what I see). Around half or a little less was the kitchen only. I would definitely be worried about 18K for the whole house.

You need to get pricing on things up front so you know what these allowances will get you and budget accordingly to what your expectations are. We looked at our builder's "standard" carpet and hardwood choices that fit into those allowances and went in with approximate ideas of how much we would go over to get something we liked.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 12:04PM
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I agree that 18K seems super light on cabinets. We spend way more than that on our current home, which only has two baths and was built 8 years ago!

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 12:06PM
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I agree that 18K seems super light on cabinets. We spend way more than that on our current home, which only has two baths and was built 8 years ago!

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 12:08PM
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Cabinets seem light to me, as do the plumbing since it includes tubs, toilets and all that.

If it helps any our cabinets in the kitchen alone are weighing in at 21K.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 1:22PM
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Can you share the finish carp. amount? Are they painting or staining the cabinets?

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 2:20PM
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The bid doesn't specify the finished carpentry amount. I'll have to ask the GC that. The allowances permit us to choose our own supplier if we wish. The cabinetry allowance is for whatever we choose...painted or stained. We would like stained cabinets. I just went to a kitchen store and they will be getting me an estimate within a week.

Thank you all for the is very helpful! For the prices you are quoting, was that for materials only or for materials and labor to install the cabinets?

I told the kitchen designer that we wanted quartz or comparably priced granite in the kitchen and master bath. Cultured marble in the two kids baths. The half bath just has a pedestal sink. I liked the look of beech, and of course the cherry looked awesome! I think we would be fine with beech though to save money. I'm also having her price stacked cabinets to the ceiling. We have 9' ceilings. Not inset.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 3:28PM
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Don't go to a kitchen store!!! Find out who builds the cabinets locally and go to them. I build a house 6 yrs ago and got quotes from the Big box and kitchen stores. Ck'ed out several local cabinets builders and ended up getting much more custom cabs from them and was 55% LESS than the other stores. There is a HUGE markup buying from those stores!

This post was edited by robin0919 on Fri, Apr 18, 14 at 19:12

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 7:11PM
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The builder is figuring $3,500 labor for installing the cabinets and vanities. We are in an area with LOTS of local custom cabinet makers, so we will certainly be shopping around. Does anyone have experience with Amish cabinet makers who run small shops? I wonder if they have the capability of the same type of quality finishes as larger companies.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 8:10PM
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The local cabinet builder I used, their price 'included' the installation!! Support your local cabinet makers and NOT the big boxes! No, I'm not associated with any cabinet makers. They just did a hellava job with everything.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 10:41PM
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We bought our frameless kitchen cabinets + plus 4 more we use for china cabinets from HD 2-1/2 years ago. The cost for materials only (we did the install) was around $14,000 after the various "deals." We have a small kitchen and, given the overall size of your house, I assume your kitchen will be considerably larger. I suspect you'll find $18,000 to be quite tight. Do check out the Amish cabinet makers, people on the kitchen forum have nothing but good things to say about them.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 2:21AM
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we are using our builder's own cabinet shop for our cabinets. I have been very impressed. Do some research on the kitchen forum as to what makes a good cabinet, then go speak with your local cabinet shops with your specifications in hand. Many people have had beautiful kitchens built by their local makers. The main difference between 'name brands' and local is the finish. Name brand will have a 'factory finish' using conversion varnish which is the gold standard for durability. Local makers will either use regular cabinet type paint OR catalyzed lacquer. Catalyzed lacquer is considered to be a very durable finish however second to the conversion varnish of a factory finished cabinet. I have read that the catalyzed lacquer is easier to touch up in case it's needed in the future.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 7:56AM
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I think the countertop allowance is too low also. I would like $6000 for my house and my sq footage is only 1900.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 4:15PM
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